Mexico City is huge. Over 8.8 million people call it home, which means you can guarantee there is always something to do and see.
If you’re an eager traveler like me it may be hard to stay in one place for a week, but trust me when I tell you making a trip just to CDMX is well worth it.
A full week in Mexico City will give you a real feel for the city, its people, and of course the insane food scene.
Add a day trip or two and you’ll have an amazingly varied trip with not just the capital but some epic nature, ancient ruins, and charming heritage towns.
So let’s jump into your week in Mexico City!
Plan your week in Mexico City
THE 3 TOURS WORTH DOING
Before we break things down into a day-by-day itinerary, a quick word about tours.
Most of the things to do in Mexico City you can easily do independently, such as the many museums, markets, and monuments. Simply grab a taxi or explore on foot and tick them off on your own schedule. You’ll find many suggestions in this guide.
However, three activities are especially worth doing as tours, either because an expert guide will give you a deeper appreciation for a place, or because the activities are more fun to do as part of a group experience.
These are the top 3 tours I recommend:
- Day trip to Teotihuacán. Doing it yourself will involve 2 hours of travel one way by metro and bus, but with a tour, you’ll get picked up from your hotel. The epic ruins get all the far more fascinating when accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Check out this tour on GetYourGuide or this similar one on Viator.
- Canal boat ride at Xochimilco. Having drinks and enjoying the mariachi bands is more fun (and cheaper) as a group. There is a great tour that includes Xochimilco, the Frida Kahlo Museum, the historic area of Cóyoacan, and the beautiful university grounds. Since these are all quite far from the center, they make sense to tackle on a tour. I did it with Amigo Tours which I booked through GetYourGuide. The exact same tour can also be found at Viator.
- Lucha Libre night. Watching some Mexican wrestling is a fun excursion, but even more so when you have a guide who can explain the meaning of the masks, and the plot twists, and tell you who the true baddies are! You can book it here.
Unless you’re on a very tight budget and want to DIY the whole stay, I suggest these particular tours for having the highest added value over self-guided visits.
Relaxed exploration in Roma and Condesa
Since we have a full week, let’s ease into things slowly. Take this first day to explore Roma and Condesa, two of the most beautiful neighborhoods. It’s the perfect way to get introduced to Mexico City.
You can wander around, shop in local tianguis (outdoor markets) or window shop and enjoy people-watching at one of the many cafes that line the streets.
Roma Norte brings a certain hipster vibe to this metropolitan city. You’ll find a lot of unique shops, trendy restaurants, and cafes. It’s where all the cool kids hang out! Avenida Alvaro Obregon is the main street that runs through Roma. Plenty of people will be out for a morning stroll, walking their dog, or grabbing coffee.
Adjacent to Roma Norte is Condesa, which is my favorite borough in Mexico City. It’s a bit more trendy and attracts a younger crowd making it a fun place to spend the evenings. You can explore green parks, small shops, and cafes, and it’s full of active people jogging or riding bikes.
It’s a great area for both Mexican and international dining. If you want something more traditional and low-key, there are heaps of street taco stands throughout the city and they are seriously out of this world. When I’m in Mexico, I dig into a plate of tacos al pastor pretty much every single day. I mean 16 pesos for a taco, you can’t beat it!
An excellent way to get introduced to the cuisine is to take a foodie tour of the local markets. I find that doing a food tour is the perfect activity for your first day, as knowing how to order some new dishes and treats will pay dividends throughout the rest of your trip!
If you plan to explore Downtown Mexico City, don’t miss this food-tasting tour to try the best traditional food the city has to offer!
Dive into the historic center (El Centro)
El Centro is where you’ll find all of Mexico City’s famous landmarks, such as the Metropolitan Cathedral and Templo Mayor.
Start your morning off with a visit to Torre Latinoamerico. You’ll get some amazing views of the city from the top of this office tower, which is why it’s definitely something worth doing first! See exactly where you’ll be walking and what the layout of the city looks like. I love to get a bird’s eye view of the city before I dive into exploring it.
Then head to Zocalo (main square). It’s one of Mexico City’s most iconic spots and is one of the largest public squares in the world. From here you can wander around and explore more of the historic center. Be sure to stop by the Templo Mayor, the remains of the Aztec Pyramid that once stood at the center of the city, and which was excavated beginning in 1978.
Walk in the direction of the Palacio de Bellas Artes to see a different side of the old center. Explore Alameda Central Park and don’t miss the Museo Nacional de Arte Popular, which houses some fantastic traditional Mexican art. The museum displays folk art from various regions of Mexico, portraying the country’s history and diverse cultures. Among the exhibits are Tecali’s glass art, pottery from Michoacán, Chiapas’ masks, and Oaxaca’s alebrijes, which are painted animal figures. It’s colorful, it’s vibrant, and it really captures the essence of Mexican culture.
Next, visit the Palacio de Bellas Artes, it’s the most stunning building and unlike anything else in Mexico City. The magnificent Art Deco building features an opera house, a theatre, and art from around the world. Also, the museum features a captivating mural by Diego Rivera that portrays Mexico’s history, starting from the Aztec civilization and continuing through the 20th century.
As the day winds down, grab dinner at one of the many restaurants in El Centro. A nice choice is Balcon del Zocalo, which will give you great views of the Zocalo and is a great spot to end your day.
Day trip to Teotihuacán
You can’t go to Mexico City and not visit the ancient ruins of Teotihuacán. It’s definitely a must-see for your 1 Week In Mexico City Itinerary.
My one tip is to start your day early because it’s located quite some ways out of Mexico City. From the northern bus terminal, it takes about an hour to get to Teotihuacán, but the total travel time can take twice that if you’re including traffic delays and getting to the bus terminal. An early start will ensure you’ll have plenty of time to explore the pyramids.
The two main structures, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, are certainly awe-inspiring, and you can climb all the way to the top. After you’ve explored the ruins, take some time to wander around the little shops and cafés in the area.
While you can get there by yourself, there are plenty of tours that will take you to Teotihuacán directly from your hotel in Mexico City. They also have the benefit of an expert guide who can give you a real feel for the history of the place. I found that without a guide, Teotihuacán takes at most an hour or so to see, and while the architecture is epic you’ll miss some of the context.
Another way to experience the pyramids is by taking a hot air balloon ride over the pyramids. This doesn’t come cheap (balloon rides never do!) but watching the sunrise reveal the mountains and the temples is an unforgettable experience for sure.
Seeing the Teotihuacán Valley landscapes from above on this hot air balloon ride will definitely give you an unforgettable experience.
Chapultepec Forest and around
Day 4 is all about exploring Chapultepec Forest, the largest urban park in Mexico City, which is also in effect a museum quarter, being home to several of the best museums.
Starting from the east entrance near the Chapultepec metro station, you can walk around and explore all of the different areas. Stroll toward the Chapultepec Castle which is perched atop the hill and offers stunning views of the city.
A few famous museums in the area absolutely need to be on your 1 Week In Mexico City Itinerary. The Museum of Anthropology is the most incredible museum in the city, and honestly, maybe the whole country.
It’s highly acclaimed due to its massive size and impressive collection of ancient Mexican artifacts. The Aztec Temple ruins located in the center of the museum are the highlight, along with the renowned “Sun Stone” on display, one of the world’s most famous Aztec artifacts.
For lunch, you can simply stay in the park, where numerous small eateries with outside seating can be found near the lake. (Look for Zona de Comida on Google Maps.) The stalls here will let you try a huge variety of Mexican dishes, ranging from the famous pozole stew to a delicious mole negro (black sauce) from the Oaxaca region.
In the afternoon, you can visit the Museo de Arte Moderno, one of the best modern art museums in Mexico. If you love contemporary works of art, this is a must-see. It houses art from Frida Kahlo, Diego Riviera, and many other Mexican artists.
Day trip to Coyoacán and Xochimilco
Today you are going to do one of my favorite things in Mexico City—visit Frida Kahlo’s museum!
Kahlo is a legendary artist from Mexico and her legacy is widely recognized worldwide. Her unique self-portraits offer insight into her life and the challenges she experienced. If you’re not very familiar with her, be sure to watch the excellent 2002 film Frida before you go, as it will definitely bring you up to speed.
The Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as La Casa Azul, is located in the Coyoacan neighborhood. The museum is situated inside Kahlo’s former home and showcases her life and work through a collection of her famous paintings and personal belongings.
After visiting the museum, take a walk through the Coyoacan neighborhood, which is one of the oldest in Mexico City. With colonial-style architecture and leafy squares, it has a wonderfully inviting atmosphere. There are many shops, cafes, and restaurants to check out here.
In the afternoon, head to Xochimilco, which is part of the old Aztec canal system, and you can explore it by taking a ride in a traditional “trajinera” boat. The boats are brightly colored and filled with mariachi bands. Although it may seem a bit tacky, it’s one of the best things you can do in Mexico City — and it’s actually something that city residents love to do, especially on the weekends.
I highly recommend joining a tour because you’ll be with other people. Everyone brings drinks on the boat and it turns into a real fiesta!
You can join this organized tour that includes both Xochimilco and Coyoacan. This also covers a sightseeing tour at the UNAM Central Library and the Frida Kahlo Museum.
DAYS 6 AND 7
Day trips outside Mexico City
CDMX is centrally located and so it’s the perfect home base to explore a few different places outside the city.
For your last two days, you can fill them up however you like. These are just some ideas depending on how you’re feeling after your jam-packed week in Mexico City.
If Mexico City can sometimes seem a bit much, consider a day trip to the more laid-back Puebla. The city was founded in 1531 and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. Here, you’ll find some lovely colonial churches, museums and art galleries, colorful markets, and plenty of delicious Mexican food. It’s got a very pretty old center and you’ll find the vibe is a bit more relaxed than the capital. The nearby Cholula combines well with a trip to Puebla.
Another great stop is Taxco, a colonial town with narrow cobbled streets that’s built on several hills. It’s also known as the Silver Capital of Mexico—and if you’re looking to buy some silver jewelry, this is definitely the place! Take a walk around town and explore its beautiful architecture, visit one of the many silver shops, and sample some local cuisine — such as the unique dish of pozole, which originates from Taxco. It’s about a 2.5-hour bus ride from the southern bus terminal in Mexico City. Consider making it a 2-day trip with an overnight stay in Taxco, so you can also go on a tour of one of the mines, or relax in the blue pools (the Pozas Azules de Atzala).
CDMX is surrounded by several volcanos. Due to the steep inclination they make for stiff hikes, but this makes them all the more rewarding too. Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl are two of the most popular volcanoes to hike. Both of them offer stunning views and make for a great day in the outdoors.
If you want to experience a day of hiking the surrounding volcanoes, consider booking this guided hike for a great experience.
Queretaro + Pena de Bernal
Queretaro is a beautiful yet less-visited city in Mexico, which can make for a fun 2-day excursion from CDMX if you’re looking to go somewhere a bit different. The city dates back to 1531 and has some of the best-preserved colonial architecture in Latin America—it’s even been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From Queretaro, you’ll want to head to Pena de Bernal, a town that’s home to the third-tallest monolith in the world. A monolith is a mountain that stands on its own; other examples include Sugarloaf in Rio de Janeiro or the Rock of Gibraltar. You can climb about halfway up Pena de Bernal, which is a little bit strenuous if it’s in the midday sun, but the views from there make it very rewarding. Be sure to stay in the town at least long enough to try the gorditas, a type of thicker taco that many of the restaurants here specialize in.
I hope this guide to a week-long stay in Mexico City has helped you get an idea of what you can do and experience while in this fantastic city. You should have plenty to keep yourself busy for the week! From exploring ancient ruins and sampling some delicious Mexican cuisine, you’re gonna fall in love with this city for sure.
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